First! Yeah, it’s still Mumford and Sons on top, with Babel riding that Album of the Year Grammy high all the way to the bank (note the MasterCard logos above, hovering like flies around the dollar-eyed guffawing banjo-diddlers). We do not consider it good news that one of SPIN’s Worst New Music recipients sold 66,000 more copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, even if that figure is rather low for a No. 1 and more indicative of the fact that no one released anything new that sold last week. Indeed, even the normally neutral Billboard used the words “dreary” and “ho-hum” to describe a situation, which, in our own parlance, fucking sucks.
2 to 10: How badly does it suck? Well, there wasn’t a single debut in the Top 10 this week. The good-ish news is that albums we like by Bruno Mars (Unorthodox Jukebox, No. 2, 48K), fun. (Some Nights, No. 8, 30K), Rihanna (Unapologetic, No. 9, 29K), and Taylor Swift (Red, No. 10, 28K) are up in the mix, but the “ish” comes from the fact that we’ve been typing out these records’ stats for what feels like a “Gangnam” video’s views-worth of times already. Also, proving the power of a Saturday Night Live stint, Alabama Shakes are back in with April’s Boys & Girls at a peak height of No. 6 (33K). You don’t care about the rest. Neither do we.
Meme Dream: Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” tops the Hot 100 list for the second week thanks to Billboard’s updated entry rules, which now fold YouTube views into the complex equation that determines the biggest songs in the land. (For more on that, read Philip Sherburne’s excellent explanation over in Control Voltage.) The meme-powered song has seen consecutive weekly sales jump from 1,000 to 18,000 to 262,000 to (now) 297,000 downloads. Rarrr.
Holding On: As the Shakes enter the Hot 100 this week with their SNL-pumped song “Hold On,” Billboard did a little digging and discovered that the same title has appeared on the chart via completely different songs 16 times since the list’s inception in 1958. That makes it the most successful moniker in song history, followed closely by “Runaway” (14 instances), “You” (13), “Happy” (13), “Angel” (13) and the innately perennial “Forever” (12).